Defeats in municipal and district council elections have heightened tensions among Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) officials in Kabale.
FDC retained only one seat out of the four it held in the 45-member Kabale district council. At the municipal level, FDC won six seats out of the 20 it held in the outgoing 25-member council.
Internal disputes and bickering, officials said, are to blame for FDC's poor showing in the elections. The Kabale district FDC party leadership is split into two factions.
One led by Dr Pius Ruhemurana, the Kabale municipality FDC party chairperson, and another by Sentaro Byamugisha, the district secretary general. Each faction fielded a candidate, ultimately splitting the party support base.
The split within the party was brought on by a sharp disagreement on who between Ruhemurana and Byamugisha should run for mayor.
Ruhemurana, who had been mayor since 1996, was accused of breaching the party succession plan. He had allegedly promised not to contest again in favor of Byamugisha, who had been serving as the Kabale Central division chairperson. Ruhemurana, however, changed his mind and decided to seek a fourth term in office.
His decision to seek re-election split the party members. Efforts to reconcile the two parties failed. Ruhemurana sailed through in the party primaries, which worsened the confusion, as Byamugisha decided to run as an independent candidate and won the seat.
Although Dr Kizza Besigye, the FDC presidential candidate, swept the polls in Kabale municipality, many party candidates didn't make it. Bony Tumuranzye, the Central division FDC chairperson, attributed the defeat of party candidates to the failure by Ruhemurana to respect democracy.
Florence Musimenta, a member of FDC, said failure by party officials in the district to resolve their disputes will continue to cost the party.
Ruhemurana said the time has come for the party officials to unite. Ruhemurana said he was ready for peace, which is why he conceded defeat.
Source: All Africa